Walking through the dark in the abandoned house, Gilbert shuddered. Thoughts twirling inside his head of being in this abandoned old house that had been condemned over fifty years ago were frightening enough for a young boy such as him. And being inside the walls of the house was, well, downright scary--but, at the same time, fun!
There was a large red sign out front that strictly stated: KEEP OUT! NO TRESPASSING! VIOLATERS WILL BE FINED A MINIMUM OF $500 OR PLACED IN JAIL! Gilbert felt adventurous, ignoring the warning sign, wondering: Could the cops possibly fine an eleven-year-old boy that much money, or place him in jail?
Gilbert didn't think so--or at least he hoped not. Although his mind did give him a dreadful picture of being in jail with another guy who smelled like rotten eggs and had onion-breath whenever he spoke. Some guy who had been in jail for murder, robbery, and tearing off the heads of troll dolls just because of the multicolored hair.
That thought didn't set well in his gut. But he figured with the help of his comrade in arms, he felt pretty doggone safe. He would not have to worry about sharing a cell with a smelly dude.
"You know that over a hundred people died in this house back in the Civil War days?" a voice spoke behind Gilbert's ear.
"Bobby, I know that isn't true because the place wasn't even built back then."
"How do you know?" Bobby's flashlight speared the dark, revealing the vulgar graffiti on the walls.
"Because my mom told me so."
"What, does she know everything?" Bobby's flashlight caught a huge gash in the wall, and he wondered if someone had taken a sledge hammer to it.
"She knows you like her homemade Mexican pizzas on Fridays after school," he told Bobby, "so you'd better can it!"
Not much of a response came from the peanut gallery, except: "Well, ya got me there, Gilbert."
Gilbert and Bobby could not be separated if the ground split open between them. One boy would simply take the chance and leap to the other, while the other would reach out with both hands and catch him. That was true friendship. Best friends for life. End of story. They had only been good friends--I mean best friends--three years running. Ever since the day Gilbert saw Bobby and his parents move into the house two doors down.
And on that particular day, under a bright orange orb that hung in the sky, radiating enough heat and humidity for the residents of Deputy Point, causing them to turn down their thermostats to allow the cold air to drift through the vents like an apparition floating through a wall, Gilbert saw Bobby bring out his bike--a cool silver and black BMX with mag wheels and a plastic racing plate tied onto the handlebars that displayed the number one.
The magnificent sight of his bicycle filled Gilbert's eyes, making him a bit envious. He went into the garage and got his out. Unfortunately it wasn't as neat as Bobby's, being pieced together from other bike parts, but it did suffice. After a brief introduction between the two boys, finding out a few things they had in common, such as what kind of movies they liked and how much they hated--and I do mean hated--liver and onions, they took off together and rode down to the end of street and into the woods through the bike trails that delivered them above and beyond. And along the way they found they had even more things in common, too.
It sparked an instant friendship.
So, now, together with Bobby's little brother Timmy tagging along because if he didn't he would run and tell his mom they were going into the abandoned house down by the river, they slowly traipsed through the abandoned house.
"Are you sure your mom isn't going to be home until ten, Bobby?"
"I told you already. She works until nine thirty. And, I just got a cell phone. So if she does happen to call, I'll just say we're outside in the tent."
Gilbert had told his parents he was staying the night at Bobby's. What his parents didn't know was that he and Bobby were going into the old house, which they had strongly forbidden him to do for years. But he was a kid, full of energy, and very curious about the house. Every time he and his parents would drive by it, he would ask if the place had a history. And every time there was a long pause before his father would reply with, "Gilbert," then a short pause while his father formed the right words in his brain to say, "Don't let either your mother or me catch you in there. You understand, son?"
Gilbert would sigh, replying, "Yeah."
Then they would say, "Good. Because young boys with curious minds, like you, do not need to be in that house."
"Promise me you won't go in there," Mom demanded.
Crossing his fingers and hiding his hand behind his back, Gilbert replied with a grin, "Sure, Mom."
A cold breeze blew through the old house, and Gilbert could have sworn he heard something move behind them. He thought he heard a...was that a moan? Training his flashlight's beam on the empty hallway they had just exited, he found nothing in sight.